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Leeds University

Leeds University Information & History...

The development of the University of Leeds is closely linked to the emergence of Leeds as an international base for the textile industries and clothing manufacturers. In the Victorian era these commercial interests were the driving forces behind the establishment of the university.

The origins of Leeds University can be traced back to 1831, when the Leeds School of Medicine was first established. A year later the school was joined with the Yorkshire College of Science, established to provide a non-sectarian learning institution for the middle class children of local merchants and textile industry magnates. It thus led the way in providing an alternative education, to those whose religious affiliations fell outside of the Church of England. This ensured a progressive, pragmatic and modern approach to education, which was further developed over the years.

The teaching of subjects such as experimental physics, mathematics, geology and chemistry, mining, and biology, ensured its reputation as an authoritative college for engineering, textile and technology studies. When its teaching widened further to include the classics, modern literature and history, the College was renamed as the Yorkshire College. By 1887 the college had also merged with the School of Medicine and the following year 1888, saw the new Yorkshire College join the federal Victoria University, which had previously been awarded the Royal Charter in 1880.

Significantly the Leeds section of Victoria University did not exclude female students from studying on its courses, and by 1896 special facilities were provided in the Day Training College ensuring that women began to enroll in significantly large numbers.

At the start of the 20th Century  Leeds university was one of only six civic universities in the country and awarded a Royal Charter at this time. In 1904 Leeds university was confirmed as an independent university by King Edward V11.

Today Leeds University is an internationally acclaimed institution of learning, teaching and research, serving over 33,000 students full-time alone. Being one of the original six ‘red brick’ universities, it’s reputation is consolidated by its membership in the Russell Group, thereby ensuring recognition, excellence and brilliance in academic research.

The modern Leeds University has integrated and developed further, combining internationally renowned research with modern and innovative professional practices,  which has ensured its reputations as one of the world’s leading universities. The university excels in providing new technology development for biopharmaceuticals, defense industries, healthcare provision, and also invented the Ultracane to aid blind and visually impaired people. 

This is bore out by its vast array of alumni to have graced its facilities, previous students whose achievements include, astrophysicists, astronauts, cabinet ministers, entertainers and authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Alan Yentob, Corrine Bailey Rae, Mark Knopfler and astronaut Piers Sellers. This has ensured the reputation of Leeds University as both an historically acclaimed, and a modern source of academic excellence.

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